The Valparaiso Moraine

When your driving do you notice most of our area is flat?

Living in Indiana has it’s stigmas and sometimes as we’re driving through the fields down I65 I get it! However, here in Indiana North we have pockets of extremely interesting landscapes. There is a belt of rolling hills, steep ridges, deep-wooded gorges, muck pockets, potholes, and natural kettle ponds runs 6 to 15 miles from Lake Michigan.

This belt is called “The Valparaiso Moraine.” Contrary to the name, the moraine forms a large U shape around Lake Michigan from Wisconsin to Southwest Michigan. The moraine was formed during the “Crown Point Phase” of the Wisconsin glaciation. The glacier had bulldozed its way south 10,000 to 50,000 years ago. It received the name of “Valparaiso” because it’s here after passing through Lake County that the moraine begins to narrow resulting in some of the highest peaks and dramatic landscapes.

We notice the results of this glacier without ever really paying attention. The first time I had ever been golfing, my uncle and I walked “Mink Lake.” A hilly, affordable, 9-hole course at the time. At the age of maybe 13 I didn’t really appreciate walking these hills let alone golfing. Now as an adult I find it fascinating.

It’s more than just a few hills. As it makes its way through Indiana it forms a contentinal divide that separates the drainage of the Great Lakes and the Gulf of Mexico by the Mississippi River. Seems a little wild to me!

The best place to experience this for yourself is the Moraine Nature Preserve North Of Valparaiso.



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